The wise wound…. Yes… our wounds are wise. Our wounds are doorways of depth and great beauty. Doorways to understanding the mystery and our part to play, just behind the misconceptions and the pain of mis-identification.
Over the past week I have had my menstruation and at 48 years old I feel like I finally get the gift of the spiritual power of menstruation. It is the wise wound.
All my life I have suffered with painful periods. And from my twenties, before and during menstruation, that sometimes meant around two weeks or more of my life every month was painful. In my mid-twenties I was diagnosed with endometriosis. After a very stressful time of feeling like a madwoman racked with pain and apparently acting like one as far as the medical profession at the time were concerned - I had an answer. You are not mad. You are not making this all up - as was suggested by my male surgeon the day of my laparoscopy operation to try and discover what was going on!
Endometriosis is a common condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (the endometrium) is found outside the womb. The condition is estimated to affect around two million women in the UK with most women being diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 40. When I was first diagnosed, over 24 years ago, no-one I spoke to really knew what it was, what caused it, or how you could find some relief – it was something you just had to live with.
So on and off throughout my life I have gone through various degrees of monthly pain. I read all the bits of info and books I could, tried spiritual healing with a church group, took herbs, aromatherapy, homeopathic and any other alternative possibilities, ample amounts of pain-killers, hormone treatment, took the pill, doctors visits, operations to surgically remove endometriosis tissue and ultimately also advised to go and get pregnant as that could help…. I didn’t try that one.
So this monthly reoccurrence had no end, with no possible resolution offered to the distress that was being created when it was in a not-so-good wave in my life. Over the last eight years, since my last surgical procedure I have been exploring more consciously my experience. And particularly the last few years I have been consciously allowing space around the time of menstruation. Being self-employed has given me the ability to arrange my diary that way where I could. In this time I have been listening like I have never listened before.
Listening to the subtleties moving through my consciousness, listening to the bodies needs, allowing deeper and deeper vulnerability to open. Listening to the cues that may occur just before a bleed and during. Knowing the invitation of the death point just before I am about to bleed, the release. Seeing rage surfacing, anger displaying, and the incapacity to be polite and obliging. Raw pain sometimes each month keeping me bed-bound for days. And many times combined with a depth of stillness enveloping every sense and fibre of my beingness here as work dissolved, commitments dissolved, timetables dissolved, I dissolved… amongst and in the rawness of this power.
One of my bleeds when I was in Nepal was a time of raw pain, along with profound beauty and healing. As I cocooned myself in my room and my beautiful brothers around me would come and bring me delicious nourishing food cooked by my sisters. Sharing their understanding and concern for me and for the women in their lives as they watch them suffer month after month. Each individual respectively entering the womb space with such tender loving and care. My sisters sitting on my bed with steaming cups of goodness for me, sharing their stories of crippling pain. My bleed there was actually opening a dialogue and sharing including about the cultural taboos for women at this time. A time where woman is deemed to lose her purity as far as the Hindu principal of ritual purity is concerned.
She is not allowed in the kitchen or able to prepare food as it is deemed as unclean. You cannot touch adult members of your own family, or be touched by them. And although the practice of ‘Chhaupadi’ – Chhau meaning ‘untouchable’ and Padi meaning ‘being’ and here meaning ‘being untouchable during menstruation’ may not be practiced to its extreme with those I know in Nepal - where woman has to sleep outside in huts and not allowed to enter the house at all. There are still some of the cultural spiritual traditions adhered to within the Hindu context but with far more openness and understanding than many who still practice Chhaupadi. Even though this has been declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Nepal in 2006, spiritual belief and tradition still runs deep, particularly in some rural areas. Going more deeply into this would be a whole other blog…! However as sisters all cultural differences disappear when women talk about the pain experienced in menstruation. We all know it.
This months bleed came with such ease, a flow that flooded deep and wide, whilst I was still able to tend what I needed to in life with an inner grace and beauty. What I realized with this months bleed was the fruit of the wise wound. No filters or barriers to the revelation of the wound, the depth of the wound, the profundity of the doorway of that wound, the wisdom of that wound that was speaking to me all the time. Its rhythm constantly communicating how I could align my life, my being, with the calling and power of the Mother.
These deep wounds are inter-generationally passed down through the lineage of woman. From mother to daughter; down through the lineage of womankind not truly knowing whom she is. We lost ourselves. We lost ourselves in the fear and confusion around this inherent power and sacrificed our well-being and wisdom to not be the changemakers we are born to be.
Now as we learn to open to the vastness of our creative potential and transform the lack of understanding in us, of the purity and power of menstruation; as a time of heightened spiritual awareness and creative capacity. We can align with a depth of artistry we never thought was possible. Our dance with our monthly cycle can be a doorway to our creative potential.
We can learn to create ourself anew. We can learn how to allow something beyond the conscious command and control of events and circumstances to flow. We can learn to allow EVERYTHING to rise without measuring or monitoring what is released from the unconscious. Here is where we can allow ourself to be taken to the core of the wound, embrace the wound, allowing its wisdom to speak, to grow us, enliven us and flower our creative potential into a whole new way forward. This is higher creativity as the calling to face the higher difficultly in life that opens up its gifts.
This is a time to embrace the artistry we are born to form… as a display of the transformative power of living love.